Hospital discussion draft
Last night, the House Ways and Means Committee released the Hospitals Improvements for Payment (HIP) Act of 2014, a 146-page discussion draft that would make significant reforms to Medicare hospital policies. Among other provisions, the HIP would:
- Create a permanent Medicare bundled payment program by incorporating the Comprehensive Care Payment Innovation Act of 2013—introduced by Reps. Diane Black (R-TN) and Richard Neal (D-MA)—which Premier has endorsed;
- Address the Medicare inpatient ‘two-midnights’ policy—including repealing the 0.2 percent reduction that CMS implemented in its fiscal year (FY) 2014 inpatient final rule— as well as short inpatient stays and outpatient observation stays;
- Adjust the readmissions penalty program to account for socioeconomic factors by incorporating Rep. Jim Renacci’s (R-OH) Establishing Beneficiary Equity in the Hospital Readmissions Program Act;
- Create a new hospital prospective payment system; and
- Reform the RAC program and audits and appeals processes.
The House Ways and Means Committee is seeking comments on the discussion draft. Premier is reviewing the discussion draft and will provide input to the committee. While it is unlikely that the discussion draft will move during the lame duck session, it will serve as a place marker for the 114th Congress.
Medicaid primary care pay parity House bill
On Tuesday, Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced the Ensuring Access to Primary Care for Women & Children Act (H.R. 5723), which would continue to fund the Medicaid Primary Care Pay Parity Program for two additional years. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced a companion bill in the Senate, S. 2694, in July. The Medicaid Primary Care Pay Parity Program, established through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), guarantees that family doctors and eligible specialists are paid Medicare-level reimbursement rates for providing primary care and immunization services to Medicaid recipients. The program’s funding is set to expire on December 31, 2014.
House Committee Leadership announcements
Leadership selections for key healthcare committees in the House were announced over the last several days, after some jockeying for top panel spots. While some of the bids were uncontested, Frank Pallone (D-NJ) defeated Anna Eshoo (D-CA) in a high-profile contest to become the Ranking Member on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) backed Pallone, while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) supported Eshoo, another member of the California delegation. Pallone ultimately won by 10 votes in a secret ballot vote of the full Democratic Caucus.
Please see below for the leadership selections for those committees with healthcare jurisdiction:
Ways and Means
- Chair: Paul Ryan (R-WI)
- Ranking member: Sander Levin (D-MI)
- Health subcommittee: Kevin Brady (R-TX)
Energy and Commerce
- Chair: Fred Upton (R-MI)
- Ranking member: Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
- Health subcommittee: Joe Pitts (R-PA)
- Chair: Tom Price (R-GA)
- Ranking member: Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Oversight and Government Reform
- Chair: Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
- Ranking member: Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
Premier will share a full list of House and Senate committee leadership assignments when they are finalized. Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has released a House calendar for the first session of the 114th Congress.